TILLA BRADING: Writing the Boundary

swag from the dig treasure trove of a bustling life Neolithic pottery/Wick barrow/flint dagger/buried flint tools/for hunting fishing skinning & cutting/pottery shards/burned grain/jewellery/hobnails/ cheese press/mortaria/fragment of an amphora/black burnished ware/spindle whorl/boundary ditches/pits & postholes/bone pin/quern grinding stone/brooches/coins/at least a hundred skeletons



Poetry Pin Project.

Although I found the title inauspicious, this project attracted me because it encapsulated ephemeral, invisible, contrast, landscape, archaeology, time, walking, boundary etc.; all themes lurking in my practice. It was also collaborative and originated by someone who had succeeded in drawing down funding; a skill I can only admire because of the drudgery and ability to circumvent tangles of red tape which this requires; an antithesis to poetry.

On reflection, the ‘Pin’ word is appropriate because the app which holds the work is pin-pointed on a map and only accessible at the spot on the landscape; an ephemeral quality; otherwise invisible writing.

The boundary is between the windswept, exposed, sparsely populated landscape of coastal farms and the energy of swarming human activity in the (reputedly) largest construction site in the UK. It is between wild­­/tame, inactive/active, calm/noise, traditional/modern, freedom/restriction, conservation/destruction. In physical form it is a double high fence topped with barbed wire.

The landscape is relatively flat, facing north to Bridgwater Bay and the Bristol Channel edged by shelved rocks which wave along this stretch of coast.

Due north of Nether Stowey, walking his thread towards Lyrical Ballads, this is the site inspiring Coleridge’s Lines Written at Shurton Bars (September 1795)

Layered beneath are the strata through two hundred million years.

The project was created by Christopher Jelley (his Facebook profile says ‘Artist’) as one of several app-incorporating writing projects, (another is Storywalks). The projects involve the community (adults or children), often walking to locate the writing in the landscape; poetry may not be his main medium but he has facilitated others to experience and write. The Poetry Pin project consisted of Christopher leading the same walk of about a mile and back on the second Saturday of each month for a year for who ever turned up. I only managed to turn up once, in January 2015; the penultimate walk.

So far, so thought-provoking, perhaps. For me, however, the lure compounding the idea was that the walk followed the new boundary fence between the pastoral, agricultural plough and the voracious devouring and potentially explosive development of Hinkley C Reactor.

I envisage that, in performance, my written contribution will be against a video background of construction traffic activity and its noise or, maybe, the EDF ‘ Combwich Wharf and Freight Laydown’ video or similar with a soundtrack of roaring and grinding engines.






Tilla Brading is a poet, performer, textual artist and teacher whose writing began by drawing on her experience growing up on a hill farm in Wales; its people and situations and has evolved from such rooted ideas to a freer exploration of language and semantics, performance and the visual.

She was joint editor of Odyssey Press, PQR (Poetry Quarterly Review) and assistant Custodian of Coleridge Cottage, (where the poet lived), in Nether Stowey, Somerset.

Her poetry has appeared widely in a variety of magazines and on-line i.e. Shearsman, Oasis, Fire, Staple, Terrible Work, HOW 2, Great Works etc. It includes performance, collaborations and exhibition.


Poetry Publications

Possibility of Inferno. Odyssey Poets, 1997

AUTUMnal Jour. Maquette Press, 1998

Notes in a Manor: of Speaking. Leafe Press, 2002

Stone Settings (with Frances Presley). Odyssey Books & Other Press, 2010


Further collaborations and on-line work

Grid. Dusie Kollektiv, 2012

Blog project, Jennifer K. Dick, 2013

‘One Off’ anthology, Martin Stannard, 2013

Salon de Textes Exhibition, Delpha Hudson, Falmouth 2013

Poetry Pin, Chris Jelley 2015




  • Tilla

    Hi, my e-mail is not this; it’s actually tilla.b@gmail.com!!
    Congratulations on the issue – Peter Riley’s right – it takes time to read it all so I’ll be dipping in and out for ages!


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